Biography

Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Hailed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as “a rising star in the musical firmament,” New is the recipient of the prestigious 2021 Sir George Solti Conducting Award.

The 2020/21 season saw Gemma make notable debuts with Seattle Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and Basque National Orchestra of Spain. She led three subscription programs with Dallas Symphony Orchestra in her second season as Principal Guest Conductor. Over the course of the season, Gemma returned to her home country to conduct three programs with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, including Handel’s Messiah on a global IDAGIO livestream.

In Summer 2021, New led the New York Philharmonic’s 29th Annual Memorial Day Concert at St. John the Divine in a free performance livestreamed to the public. She made debuts at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and at the Aspen Music Festival and Grand Teton Music Festival. In Australasia, made her debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and led the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Festival in three programs.

New’s 2021/22 season includes subscription appearances with National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Baltimore Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony. Increasingly in demand in Europe, New will make debuts with WDR Sinfonieorchester, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestre National d’Ile de France.

Gemma’s work as Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic has been committed to deepening the artistic level of the orchestra and expanding its reach into the community. She launched the Intimate and Immersive concert series, creating a closer-to-the-music atmosphere by combining treasures of the orchestra canon and contemporary music, electronic indie music, lighting and visual art installations. Gemma also implemented a Family Series in her first year as Music Director, and introduced annual education concerts in the 2019/20 season. She has regularly welcomed local students to sit onstage during rehearsals and encouraged a close relationship with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra who now play side-by-side with the HPO annually. Her programs present wide-ranging repertoire including works by core masters such as Beethoven and Mahler, and extending through today’s most active composers from Canada and New Zealand, such as Zosha di Castri, José Evangelista, Salina Fisher and Kevin Lau.

A former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New served previously as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. In 2018, she was a Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center where she led the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s “In America”. She served previously as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. She is a former recipient of the David Karetsky Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and an Ansbacher Fellowship, in which she was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic to observe rehearsals and concerts at the Salzburg Festival. As a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellow, she studied Mendelssohn’s music with Kurt Masur in Leipzig and led the Leipziger Symphonieorchester. Prior to receiving the 2021 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, she was awarded Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards in 2017, 2019 and 2020.   

Committed to new music, New made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013 on works by John Adams and Andrew Norman. In 2010, she founded the Lunar Ensemble, a nine-member contemporary music ensemble that premiered 30 works over six seasons. New has conducted works by Thomas Adès, Anna Clyne, Steve Mackey, Aaron Jay Kernis and many others. 

New holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she studied with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. She graduated with honors from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance.